Um, why "My children play the fiddle" is wrong? I'm not a native English speaker, just doing a reverse course. It means something else? For some reason we can't say "to play the fiddle"?
Duolingo doesn't like the word "fiddle". It doesn't the word "kid" and it doesn't like contractions.
That's why you have a report button :-) I never actually had a problem with contractions.
A fiddle is a violin but the term is bucolic and mostly out of use except as slang, in my experience. As Russians, no one would use a "country" slang term like fiddle.
A fiddle is not a violin, just as a cornet is not a trumpet. They are very similar instruments, commonly used in different contexts. Thus you do not usually find a fiddle in an orchestra, or a violin at a traditional music performance. Thay are similar enough that a musician who is capable of playing one is able to play the other, but they have different repertoires and slightly different sounds.
Do the posts by Silinorielle and Theron126 mean that Russians make no distinction between these instruments?
Ah, an update on what I said. My Mom plays the violin and I told her about this thread seeking her opinion. What she explained to me, is that what Europeans call "a fiddle" or what's called in Russian "народная скрипка" (which is, turns out, just an adaptation of the English term, not an actual phrase used in Russian language) was an old traditional instrument first. It simply didn't exist in Russia. What got to Russia in XVIII century was already called "a violin". Professionals, however, make distinction between an "academic violin", a "concert violin" and a "usual violin", but all of these are not actual terms, but more like... Dunno, professional slang I guess. I'm not sure I fully understand, but how Mom explained it, an academic violin means one that has classic form, all made from wood except the strings, the sound is proper and such. So, it is not about what context it's played in, it's about the form. And I guess this is what you mean when you say "violin"? So yeah, in Russian we have one word for "fiddle" and "violin". What you mean as "fiddle" simply doesn't have it's own word, because it came later and it was called a "violin", too. When I say "скрипка", it can be any of them =)
I am sorry for not being completely clear, Silinorielle. I never meant to imply that it was where the instrument was played that determined the name. It is more that the different repertoires (folk and classical) demand instruments with different tuning and timbre. So an instrument would be manufactured for one purpose or the other, but not both.
As far as I know, both a re manufactured in the same way, in terms of wood and gutstring. Here is one of the greatest Scottish fiddlers; I hope you can hear here that is not just the style of play but the tone of the instrument that is completely different.
I find it hard to be more specific since it is not an instrument that I play myself. But an analogous situation exists between the cornet and the trumpet (which I do play). Both are tuned to B-flat, and they use the same fingering, so superficially, someone who can play the one can play the other, but the technique is completely different (and the repertoires of music that they are used for). More importantly the sound is completely different too. Even if I played a classical piece of music, that was written for the trumpet, on a cornet, it would be immediately audible that I was playing the wrong instrument!
I don't know that that situation is analogous, really. It seems like the more conventional account would be that violin vs fiddle (in the not "all stringed instrument from around the world" sense) is more akin to the different kinds of trumpets: B flat, C, D, what have you. These are all certainly constructed differently, and they're made for different purposes. But they're all still trumpets. A professional caliber fiddler-violinist might well own more than one instrument to ply her craft (as would a professional caliber trumpet player). He would probably never use his 'violin' to play fiddle music and would never use his fiddle to play classical music. But he could, in fact, do either. And somebody with a more common situation and everyday budget undoubtedly would play both kinds of music on her one instrument. I feel like at that point the distinction is a matter for the philosophers: your ontolgy is having some fun cross-hatching with your teleology! And the violin vs fiddle question is probably one more of metaphysics than music.
ETA: Believe it or not, in the 22 hours since posting the original portion of this, I have run into a violin playing, PhD having, college professorship holding philosopher. He, incidentally, immediately offered that he had no idea there was any difference at all between a fiddle and a violin. I offered a summary as best I could of the discussion here (ex the "all stringed instruments" complication). His response: perhaps one posits the existence of a class of one kind of thing: "fiddle-violins". This object has two subtypes, with two more conventional forms of nomenclature ;)
A FIDDLE IS THE SAME EXACT THING AS A VIOLIN, AND YOU WOULD NOT GET A DIFFERENT INSTRUMENT TO PLAY DIFFERENT MUSIC
I believe the technical specs laid out here will bear out my point that at least at the highest echelons of music making, instruments with slightly different set-ups are (or at least can be) used for fiddling than would be used for classical violin playing. If you understood me to have been attempting to make a point any stronger than that, I regret the misunderstanding.
Hmm. Your explanation of the distinction between fiddle and violin seems much as I understood it. The instruments can be played interchangeably, but sound different. (A D trumpet is far more different to a Bflat trumpet than a cornet is, both in appearance and sound (and, of course, fingering)). Can you confirm whether the tuning of a fiddle differs from a violin, or not?
Then the question remains. What is the word for fiddle in Russia? The world may never know.
No, it doesn't. Silinorielle has stated clearly that it is a народная скрипка.
If you hover over "скрипке" it gives "fiddle" as a translation, but it still doesn't accept it.
One can hardly quote a crowd-sourced dictionary as authoritative (although it can be extremely convenient!). Merriam-Webster is a Dictionary of American English; since it only attempts to cover one dialect of English, it is of course less authoratative than those whose remit is all dialects.
However, it is interesting to note that the Oxford Companion to Music says the following:
fiddle (Fr.: vielle, vièle; Ger.: Fiedel; It.: viola; Lat.: viella).
A generic term for any bowed instrument, including the violin. It is used especially for the medieval European bowed instruments ...
It seems that the definition has narrowed...
Aly Bain, who I linked to above, is never described as a violinist; he is a fiddler.
Merriam-Webster is a Dictionary of American English; since it only attempts to cover one dialect of English, it is of course less authoratative than those whose remit is all dialects.
Given that Duolingo uses American English as standard, maybe a dictionary of American English is actually the more authoritative reference? In any case, either is a скрипка.
An article I found on the subject: http://stringsmagazine.com/learn-the-difference-between-violin-and-fiddle/
Certainly, given the focus of this site, a dictionary of American English should be considered more authoritative than one that focuses on any other dialect of English.
I tend to take the Oxford English Dictionary as standard, because its remit is "English throughout the world since 1700, plus the vocabulary of certain established literary figures such as Shakespeare'. It has over 300,100 headwords and cover approximately 616,500 word forms. As far as I am aware, no other dictionary in English claims such a remit.
American English is the standard at Duolingo, and that is what it teaches, but this is an international site. It helps neither Russian students of English nor international English speakers, to pretend that American usage is universal, where it is not.
Since the goal is communication, it is important to acknowledge distinctions where they exist, and particularly if they also exist in the target language, so that a one-to-one correspondence can be established, where possible.
From this discussion I have learnt two important things about Russia: that Russian does not distinguish between the fiddle and the violin, and secondly, that Russia has no native tradition with the instrument, despite the wonderful contribution made by Russian composers to the classical violin repertoire.
I have also learned that different usage may cause problems in communications with Americans on the subject, although this appears restricted to the U.S.A., since the Canadian traditional musicians with whom I have spoken appear to share my vocabulary.
There are few real distinctions between violins and fiddles, though more primitively constructed and smaller violins are more likely to be considered fiddles. <...> Fiddle is also a common term among musicians who play folk music on the violin.
Народная скрипка (иногда также фиддл, от англ. fiddle) — скрипка, используемая за пределами академической музыки и прежде всего в народной музыке.
Theron126's article gives some interesting detail on the ways in which construction may be varied in order to facilitate the playing of traditional music. In my experience the tone is also different, because a different sound is desired. Those (few) musicians who play both repertoires at a professional standard, purchase both instruments.
I don't think the sentence makes the distinction between "народная скрипка" and just "скрипка".
A person who plays Tuba in a symphonic orchestra is a Tubist/Tuba player. But, if he/she plays Tuba in a military band/British brass band, then he/she is a Bassist/Bass player. The difference between a bass and a tuba is:
A tuba plays in an orchestra, and a bass plays in a band.
It is in that same way that a fiddle is played in folk music, and a violin is played in an orchestra. You can use the same instrument, and play a violin or a fiddle. Just depends on the music.
Take it from a musical expert. Like me. Look up my Jazz Suites. =)
Actually, I am in an orchestra, and yes, you wouldn't say that there are fiddles in an orchestra, but there are. A FIDDLE IS A VIOLIN, it is just a different style of playing the SAME INSTRUMENT. IN FIDDLE MUSIC THERE ARE A LOT OF SLURS AND PLAYING TWO STRINGS AT ONCE. Also fiddle music is more lively, fast, and fun. Violin music on the other hand is more artistic and creative.
Thanks Rachael - I was about to add the same input - I played the violin for years as a child - and I played it on my dad's instrument - which was a violin when they played Glen Miller dance music and a fiddle when they played a lot of polkas and country western style music - there are not two different instruments only the way in which they are played.
Sorry, I just wasn't aware that "fiddle" and "violin" are different things, that's why I asked if it means something different. Wiki says: "Fiddle is another name for the bowed string musical instrument more often called a violin.", so I assumed... I tried to find an actual Russian equivalent of a fiddle and the closest to what you said is "народная скрипка", but the first word is usually omitted, so it's just a "скрипка" anyway.
For playing an instrument, "на + prepositional". You may be getting mixed up with playing a game, which is "в + accusative".
It may not be quite correct to think of it this way but you play on an instrument and you play in a game.
As a native English speaker, that sounds a little unnatural and incorrect to me. We usually just say to play an instrument.
I don't suppose Russian provides any other way to refer to a fanciful case of either exceptionally small children or extremely large violins, but I can see why for pedagogical reasons one might not place overmuch importance on this case. I suppose one could construct a more on point interpretation by analogy to "playing on the piano," a seemingly more established colloquial expression for either just playing the piano or for attempting in some form to play the piano. However, I would tend to think this should also be avoided for the benefit of the many non-native English speakers doing the course. So, yes, I agree, but I also see how one could see it differently.
If it's in my possession, for example "мои дети", does that mean the verb also conjugates to the first person, and if yes, does that mean that the verb for "наш дети" conjugates with мы, and that other verbs conjugate with the person which the object(s) belong(s) to?
The verb is third-person plural, regardless of whether the children are mine or someone else's. It's the children that play, not me. Я играю; мои/твои/наши дети играют.
I'm not sure if I'm correctly understanding your question, but I hope this helps.